While not all EU Member States have a legal definition of the concepts of “games of chance” and of “gambling”, in most jurisdictions a game of chance is defined as a game that offers an opportunity to compete for prizes, where success depends completely or predominantly on coincidence or an unknown future result and cannot be influenced by the player. At least one of the players loses his or her stake. The first important element characterising a game of chance is that of stake money or monetary value. The second essential characteristic of a game of chance is the element of chance. Success or loss must depend completely or predominantly on coincidence and not on abilities and knowledge. Success is considered to depend in any case on coincidence, if the relevant aspect is the occurrence of an uncertain event.
In order to avoid that certain games are not covered by the definition because a skill element can prevail in playing a particular game and therefore risking that a common policy would be incoherent, the understanding of games of chance should also comprise games of chance and skill. This concerns games where the result is not totally accidental but depends, to a certain extent on the skill and/or knowledge of the participant (such as poker or sports betting).
However, the distinction between games of chance and skill and games of skill is not always easy to make and has been subject to numerous court proceedings at national level.